Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever – Mahatma Gandhi
Many people believe that they need to stop learning or their learning is complete once they join a job. There is nothing more false than this view point.
Growth is dependent on learning
Few people are really privileged to have someone in their life to guide/mentor them through their life and help them grow. They regularly get feedback and moulding happens in the right direction from the childhood.
But there are few others who do not have such a privilege. There is nobody to mould them, in fact, they are negatively moulded. They need to realize the importance of learning in order to grow in their career. They need more time to learn; typically they need to work 3 to 4 times harder than those who are privileged.
If you are one of them and don’t have anybody to tell you, you need to at least commit and say, “I need to spend more time on self-education”, if not, you cannot succeed to your full potential.
Different kinds of Learning
When it comes to learning, there are two types of learning to grow in career – text book learning and learning to be a good professional.
Text book learning
Text book learning is about being aware of information/concepts in text book, preparing for exams and getting degrees.
This form of learning is helpful, especially if someone gets a job in their field and helps to quickly become a valuable member of team because of their awareness of fundamentals in the subject. However, this can happen only if the person focuses on understanding the subject rather than on rote memorization without understanding how the information is helpful in real life.
Another kind of learning is to learn to become a good performer at work and earn respect at work. Remember, being respected is different from being cool.
Learning to be a good professional involves
- Learning how to work in office environment: No school or college teaches us how to work/behave in a professional office environment. But as an independent individual it is our own responsibility to know what to do and what not to do at the workplace. For this you need to learn workplace ethics and should apply them continuously while doing the job.
- Learning to overcome ignorance: “There is only one good – knowledge; and one evil – ignorance” – Socrates.
You will be ignorant of many things – about your industry, about your company, about your managers, about how to work and about yourself. Growth does not happen without transformation and growth does not happen suddenly. It is like a seed that becomes a plant, then a small tree and full size tree that keeps on growing. Unless, you do the previous learning, you cannot do further learning.
- Learning about yourself: Once you enter your professional life, you need to be more matured than what you were in your past life. You need to know about yourself than anyone else. Self-evaluation is highly important to become a better you than you were yesterday. You need to know where you are good and improve it further. You need to know what mistakes you typically do and make efforts to correct them. What are your tendencies that lead to low quality output and overcome them.
- Learning to develop wisdom – “The wisest mind has something yet to learn” – George Santayana
The thing with wisdom is that it is a big picture view. What happens after 3 steps rather than after 1 step or 2 steps? This requires having a wider viewpoint rather than narrow viewpoint. You develop this overtime and that too only if you are genuinely interested.
- Learning about tools: Tools give you efficiency and make two day’s work possible in one day or half day. Every profession has its own tools which are used on a regular basis. Unless we master them, it becomes difficult for us to work efficiently.
- Learning about processes and work flows: There are few other things which can be learned through experience and observation. Things like how to work when multiple people are there? How to get work approved by busy people? How to get work approved by your boss and his boss’ boss as well as your customer, are few things you need to learn to be successful in life.
Finally, as Martin Palmer says, “The secret to mastery in any field is to forever be a student.” Whether it is on the professional or personal front, learning should be continuous in order to grow to the next level of life.
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